By Jared Grellet
|Edgars Stelmahers erupted for 16 points against Bulgaria after a scoring a total of 17 points in the tournament for Latvia before|
Turning Point: Leading by a point early in the final frame, Latvia goes on a 19-0 run to seal the victory.
Game Hero: Edgars Stelmahers. His 16 points came within one of matching his combined contribution from his previous seven games at the tournament.
Stats Don't Lie: Bulgaria shot three-for-17 from the field in the final quarter.
Latvia have confirmed a spot in Sunday's game to decide fifth and sixth place at the Samsung U18 European Championship, defeating Bulgaria 81-64.
Seeking revenge for their loss to Bulgaria earlier in the tournament, Latvia's wishes were achieved, outscoring their opponents 19-9 in the final frame to send them into Sunday's game to decide fifth and sixth place, the winner of which will earn a place in the 2012 FIBA U19 World Championship.
Collectively scoring 17 points in his first seven games in the championship, Edgars Stelmahers was relishing a rare starting opportunity, hitting back-to-back threes midway through the opening frame, accumulating 12 points in 10 minutes to give Latvia a healthy eight-point lead by the end of the quarter.
But after shooting at 50% from the field in the opening frame, Latvia's shooting dropped off considerably in the second quarter, with all six of their three-point attempts going astray, opening the gate for Bulgaria to come back and be leading by a point at half-time.
Guntis Endzels changed his game plan at the half, resulting in Latvia driving to the basket more often in the third quarter with positive results as the Balts recovered the lead to be up by seven going into the final frame.
The lead was immediately cut back to a point when Denislav Vutev and Deyan Karamfilov hit back-to-back threes to start the final quarter, but Latvia duly replied with Roberts Krastins hitting a three from the corner to spur a 19-0 game-winning run.
Next to Stelmahers with 16 points, Ilja Gromovs chipped in with 12. Toms Leimanis and Roberts Krastins both finished with 11, whilst Ivars Zvigurs ended with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Kris Minkov had 14 points for Bulgaria.
Edgars Stelmahers drains two long-distance shots to beat the shot-clock in Latvia's win over Bulgaria.